Are you considering product design career opportunities? If you're a creative, love to solve problems and interested in the business side of things, this role could definitely be for you.
The rise of software products and internet businesses has clearly expanded the need for product designers across tech companies. To say that the profession has experienced a boom in the recent years is an understatement, the field is more accessible than ever with bootcamps, and courses such as Ironhack, Memorisely, Uxcel. Let's see if this role could be interesting for you, whether you're switching careers, or a recent graduate.
This is what we will cover in this blog post:
- What does a product designer do?
- What qualifications do I need to be a product designer?
- Is product design a good job?
- Do product designers make money?
- How to find the right product design career opportunities
- Product Designer Jobs available in 2023
What does a product designer do?
A Product Designer, at its core, is a problem solver. Product Designers play a crucial role in creating and improving the visual and functional aspects of products. Let’s see how famous product-led tech companies define the role of product designers:
A product designer at HubSpot (the marketing CRM) designs how HubSpot works. “We collaborate with our teams to produce an interactive experience that solves the needs of the customer and the business. Our role is more architect than interior decorator – meaning we spend more time thinking about how customers will use the product than making it visually attractive (although this is also important). By spending time defining the problem and understanding our users, we're able to conceptualize solutions that get at the heart of the challenges our users face and the progress they are trying to make. And by leveraging expertise in human factors, behavioral psychology, and visual design, we're able to create an experience that is highly usable, effective, efficient, and delightful.” (Source)
Nikolas Klein, Product Designer at Figma (design tool) says that “Product design is about the relationship that the designed product has with the user, but also addresses its competitive context. That includes user experience design, as well as product strategy and go-to-market planning.”
At Slack (workspace), “product designers are responsible for a whole host of things, from the UI to UX and beyond — sometimes all the way down to software sound effects. It’s our job to make the product come together in a way that our customers will find delightful and simple to use.”
If you’re interested in the entire scheme of things and working with other teams, like marketing, engineering, or business, this might be a great role for you.
What qualifications do I need to be a product designer?
To embark on a career in product design, certain qualifications and skills are typically expected. While requirements may vary, here are some common qualifications:
Education: Keep in mind that this role is recent in tech, and several candidates learned through bootcamps. Whether you’re fresh out of undergrad, high school, or already have some work experience and you’re looking for a career shift, you can also join a bootcamp. You can also try to self-teach with free resources on the web, but product design is more complex than learning how to use design software, so the best way to get the most from your learning experience is through highly practiced people in the industry. There are plenty of online courses from Udacity, SuperHi, Ironhack, Memorisely, Uxcel, UX Beginner and more.
Design skills & principles: Proficiency in design software and prototyping tools (e.g., Figma, Sketch, InVision) is key. Strong sketching and visualization abilities are also beneficial. Though product design is not only about the tools, but design principles as well. A thorough understanding of design principles and user-centered design is crucial for product designers. Being able to balance aesthetics, functionality, and market trends is key. Reading the design foundational books, such as the Design of Everyday things can help you out wrap your mind around these principles.
Collaboration and communication: This one can be underestimated, product designers need excellent collaboration and communication skills to effectively work with cross-functional teams, clients, and stakeholders. They must be able to articulate their design concepts and incorporate feedback into their work. In small to big teams, one challenge is often to advocate for your ideas, gaining strategic influence and creating equal partnerships with PM’s. If you’re curious, check out the Product Strategy course created by Femke, Lead Product Designer for companies like Gusto or Uber, about gaining strategic influence in teams. While it aims at experienced designers, knowing what lies ahead in this career track is beneficial.
Is product design a good job?
Product design offers a dynamic and fulfilling career path for those passionate about blending creativity with problem-solving. Here are some reasons why product design can be a great job:
Creativity and innovation: Product designers have the opportunity to unleash their creativity, brainstorm new ideas, and bring them to life. Each project presents unique challenges, allowing designers to constantly learn and grow.
Impactful work: Designing products that improve people's lives and enhance their experiences can be highly rewarding. Product designers have the chance to make a tangible difference in users' everyday interactions.
Collaboration and teamwork: Product design involves collaborating with professionals from various fields, fostering a stimulating work environment. The chance to work alongside engineers, marketers can lead to valuable cross-disciplinary learning experiences.
Career growth and versatility: With experience, product designers can progress into leadership roles or specialize in specific industries or areas of design.
Do product designers make money?
Product design can be a financially rewarding career choice. The earning potential of product designers can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, industry, and company size. According to levels.fyi, the average product design salary for product designers according to locations are:
- 151 290 $US in the United States;
- 71 576 £GB in the United Kingdom;
- 59 250€ in France;
- 580 513 $MX in Mexico;
- 114 457 $CA in Canada.
How to find the right product design career opportunities
Besides the specific product design skills, the best way to find a job you love and a career that will eventually make you successful is to follow what you’re naturally interested in.
- Lean into your curiosity (reading books, science nerd, growing veggies, music or even games - whatever it is)
- Find a topic or problem you’re intrinsically motivated by (music, business, climate change)
- Dive into the profession with ressources like Pathfinder
- From that, identify which product you’d love to work on: it could be games, social apps, climate-related marketplace, (links)
Seek the best mentors in these fields. Tony Fadell, creator of the iPod at Apple explains it best in his book, Build: “Students seek the best professors on the best projects when getting their masters, but when looking for jobs they focus on money, perks, and titles. However, the only thing that can make a job truly amazing or a complete waste of time is people. If there were gods of software designs and coding, they were Bill Atkinson and Andy Hertzfeld to me. Connect with them (or more approachable ones) by sharing fascinating minutiae that your family and friend find deeply, desperately, unfathomably boring. You will love working with them & they will too.”
Get clear on your work values, how you function best, and who you’d like to work with (alone, in partnership with one or two persons, in a big organization with the ability to network)
Get also clear on what type of life do you want: working full time, freelance, part-time. Your work world is yours to create!
From that, identify key filters important for you: in terms of wellness, type of work hiring etc.
Browse job that sound most like you on Woody.
Product Designer Jobs available in 2023
Companies that are currently hiring:
Product Design Jobs according to your preferred industry: